An overview of the Provincial and Territories Legislative Updates for May 5, 2023.
New Brunswickers will start receiving quarterly federal carbon tax rebates in October, with a family of four set to get a total of $736 per year. The rebates are the results of the Higgs government’s decision to eliminate its own provincial carbon tax starting July 1 and allow the federal government to impose its version.
Madawaska First Nation has gone ahead and cut out the New Brunswick government from taxes collected on tobacco and cannabis sold on-reserve. In response to the province cancelling a series of tax revenue-sharing agreements it held with Wolastoqey First Nations, Madawaska has enacted its own cannabis and tobacco licensing act, allowing the band government to set a tax rate for those products and collect the revenues, says Chief Patricia Bernard.
The New Brunswick government gave itself 24 months to design and hold a competition for a 10-year, $30-million health services contract, but has reversed itself and awarded the work to Moncton’s Medavie Blue Cross without seeking any bids. Explanations about why have been limited.
A forestry college instructor was fired because he was a “disruptive and destructive force” and not because of his views of the herbicide glyphosate, a New Brunswick judge has ruled. Rod Cumberland’s treatment of students and the “obvious toxicity” of his relationship with Maritime College of Forest Technology leaders led to his dismissal in June 2019, Court of King’s Bench Chief Justice Tracey DeWare says in a 41-page decision.
An influx of unauthorized elver harvesters prompted Nova Scotia Power to shut down one of its hydro dams last month, and the facility remains on reduced hours because of ongoing illegal fishing at the site. The hydro dam in Head of St. Margarets Bay, at the mouth of North East River, has been the scene of nightly fishing for elvers, before and after the legal fishery was supposedly shut down on April 15.
Efforts by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to combat unauthorized harvesting of baby eels in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are being dismissed as inadequate by licence holders, as poaching continues weeks after the legal fishery was shut down. The tiny, translucent eels, also known as elvers, are shipped live to Asia where they are grown for food, and sell for up to $5,000 a kilogram when caught legally — although it fetches far less on the illegal market.
Halifax’s police oversight board has ordered a review into how Halifax Regional Police responded during protests around the eviction of people from homeless camps in the city nearly two years ago. The Board of Police Commissioners announced during a meeting Wednesday that it has hired Toronto law firm Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Schwartzentruber to handle the review for $250,000.
Prince Edward Island
The P.E.I. Nurses’ Union has announced a tentative agreement with Health P.E.I., after being without a contract for two years. The union announced the agreement Thursday, but provided few details. The union said highlights of the agreement would be provided to members Friday, as well as dates for information sessions.
The emergency department at the Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague will close early for the next three days due to a lack of staffing. The ER will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the province said in a news release late Thursday. It will open for regular hours on Monday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
P.E.I. lobster fishers say they’re disappointed with prices so far this season, at a time when they’re faced with the rising cost of doing business. The Island’s spring fisheries opened at the end of April in Lobster Fishing Areas 24 and 26A, and Lobster Fishers of P.E.I. Marketing Board chair Charlie McGeoghegan said the season didn’t start out strong. Harvesters say they’re getting between $6.50 and $7 per pound from processors — less than last year, and about half what they were getting a few years ago.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Derrick Bragg has urged the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union to hold a secret ballot vote asking snow crab harvesters if they are ready to fish at $2.20 per pound, according to a letter obtained by CBC News. Harvesters have stayed off the water three weeks into the province’s most lucrative fishery, as they protest what they consider a catastrophic price of $2.20 per pound. The topic came to a head earlier this week, when the Association of Seafood Producers called out intimidation and harassment levelled at fish harvesters who have expressed a willingness to fish for $2.20 a pound.
Energy N.L. says a large drill ship anchored in Bay Bulls is set to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of Newfoundland, but a climate advocate says the time to begin work isn’t when climate targets need to be reached. British energy giant BP is planning to drill an initial exploratory well in the west Orphan Basin beginning in May, in water at a depth of 1.25 kilometres. It is a previously unexplored section of the basin about 400 kilometres northeast of St. John’s.
Iris Petten, an entrepreneur, community volunteer, and senior executive with over 35 years of experience in the fishing industry, will represent Newfoundland and Labrador in the Red Chamber.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says the province doesn’t have enough money to satisfy all the demands from cities for climate change-related projects. Legault made the comments today as cities and towns across the province clean up after severe flooding washed out roads and cut off communities from basic services.
Premier François Legault said Tuesday that efforts by the CEO of Air Canada, Michael Rousseau, to learn French are paying off. And he welcomed news that Air Canada has agreed to subject itself to the francization rules of the Charter of the French Language.
Chants of “Guy! Guy! Guy!” could be heard from locals gathered Thursday in the western Quebec town of Thurso as Premier François Legault announced the renaming of a provincial highway for late Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur. “The most beautiful memories I have with my father is sitting down to watch a game, to watch Guy Lafleur play,” Legault said of the Habs legend who died in April 2022 at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer.
The Quebec government is granting $2.7 million to a project that will make it easier to charge electric vehicles (EVs) in apartments and condos. Tech companies Recharge Véhicule Électrique (RVE) and Dimonoff, both based in Quebec, are developing software to power charging stations in a way that minimizes strain on the electrical network.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford called it a “disturbing trend” that two police officers with children at schools in the province were not allowed to participate in classroom events to speak about their jobs. One of the incidents involved a police officer in the Ottawa area who was told by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board that she could not speak at an event hosted by her child’s Grade 1 class if she wore her uniform.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in Cambridge Thursday to announce a $4-million investment to bring manufacturing capacities to the region to create respiratory vaccines. The Cambridge facility will prepare and package the vaccine, through a partnership with Novocol Pharma and Moderna. Ford said that the investment will not only bring jobs to the region, but it’ll provide a more reliable supply of vaccines.
Premier Doug Ford’s government is preparing to expand gas-fired power plants in Ontario, a move critics say will make the province’s electricity system dirtier and could eventually leave taxpayers on the hook. The province is currently soliciting bids for additional gas-fired electricity generation, which means either new gas plants get built or existing gas plants get expanded.
Queen’s Park is hiring auditors to examine city finances in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and other municipalities. It’s a bid to tackle the municipal governments’ concerns that their development-related fees and charges would be dramatically reduced by Premier Doug Ford’s housing policy changes.
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson may have ended whatever speculation still existed about the possibility of an early election. Stefanson said definitively that she’s sticking with the scheduled provincial election date of Oct. 3 in an interview Tuesday with CBC Manitoba’s Information Radio host Marcy Markusa. Asked if she’d rule out an early election, Stefanson chuckled. “The election will be on Oct. 3,” she said.
Manitoba is spending $30 million to expand the capacity of the Grace Hospital ICU unit by 20 beds, Premier Heather Stefanson announced Sunday. “Our government remains committed to healing health care and improving health infrastructure so that Manitobans can access better care sooner and as close to home as possible,” Stefanson said.
Predictable funding, better health-care service and autonomy over land-use decisions are among the priorities for Manitoba municipalities going into the next provincial election. The mayors and reeves of four municipalities presented a wish list on Friday for the next provincial government, which Manitobans will elect on Oct. 3. Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham, Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook, East St. Paul Mayor Carla Devlin and Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie Reeve Kam Blight — who also serves as the president of the 137-member Association of Manitoba Municipalities — used Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre as a backdrop for their requests.
Premier Scott Moe is once again going against the grain when it comes to federal government policies. On Tuesday, he said Saskatchewan plans to chart its own path toward a clean electrical grid and will not meet Ottawa’s net-zero emissions target of 2035. Instead, SaskPower has its own plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 partly through renewable energy sources and possibly nuclear energy, Moe said.
“You’ve been heard.” Premier Scott Moe spoke those words Monday afternoon at the Saskatchewan legislature when asked for his response to a rally organized by the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation (STF) on Saturday. The rally for public education drew a crowd of more than 3,500 people, according to the STF. They demanded the Government of Saskatchewan increase funding for classrooms.
Saskatchewan’s justice minister again defended the province’s inability to meet incoming electricity regulations after the federal environment minister accused Premier Scott Moe of making “irresponsible” comments. Bronwyn Eyre said on Wednesday Steven Guilbeault is “misguided” on how the clean electricity standards will affect utility rates in the province after Guilbeault said it’s “baseless and untrue” for Moe to say bills would spike dramatically.
United Conservative Leader Danielle Smith says she won’t be campaigning on some of her party’s more contentious ideas – sovereignty legislation, a provincial police force and an Alberta pension plan – ahead of the Alberta election on May 29.
Albertans perceive NDP Leader Rachel Notley to be more honest, transparent, and trustworthy compared to UCP Leader Danielle Smith, according to a new Leger poll that also shows the race between the two parties remains tight amid the opening week of the campaign. When asked who was the most honest and transparent leader, the poll found 37 per cent favoured Notley to 23 per cent who favoured Smith.
Rachel Notley and Danielle Smith separately pitched their visions for Alberta to undecided voters, who make up more than a fifth of voters according to a new poll.
The UCP has unveiled its plan for Alberta’s economy and how it will aim to create more jobs.
Issues related to the rising cost of living and to health care could be pivotal for parties vying to emerge as winners in the 2023 Alberta election, according to a new poll. Results from a recent Global/Ipsos poll that asked 1,200 Albertans for their opinions, both online and over the phone, showed that 54 percent of respondents consider cost of living/affordability/inflation to be one of their top three election issues.
‘In the next 10 years, B.C. will need to fill 1M job openings’: Premier David Eby. Premier David Eby announced Tuesday that the province is investing $480 million in industries that currently have the most job openings in the province and will continue to need skilled workers. Eby said this is a critically important step to help people get the skills they need to accept opportunities and build lives for themselves.
Premier David Eby said the province can no longer rely on “high-volume” exports of raw logs to support forest-dependent communities, when asked about the state of the provincial forest industry, which he said is currently undergoing a “fundamental” restructuring.
British Columbia Premier David Eby says he expects his government and Surrey’s mayor and council to work together to resolve the police service issue in the Metro Vancouver city. Eby said Monday he’s spoken twice with Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke since Friday when the government recommended the city proceed with its transition to the Surrey Police Service rather than return to the RCMP. “One of the key features of my conversation with the mayor, certainly it was her opinion and it’s mine as well, that we need to get closure on this as quickly as possible,” he said at the legislature.
People in the Northwest Territories can expect a spring and summer of extreme fire danger that could last well into the fall. That’s the message of the first wildfire briefing of the season, offered by Richard Olsen, who manages fire operations for the N.W.T.’s department of Environment and Climate Change. He said the hot, dry spring is already visible in parts of the territory, where snow has disappeared earlier than usual and plants are already turning green near the southern border.”The weather forecast seems to be consistent … that for most of the N.W.T. we’re gonna see hot dry conditions throughout June, July and into August,” Olsen said.
A tagged city looks like an unloved city. That’s what Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott said at Monday night’s Standing Committees meeting in council chambers. “We have a problem here in the city of Whitehorse and it’s continuing to grow,” Cabott said. She was responding to proposed amendments to the city’s graffiti management policy. “And I don’t mean a problem just for corporate City of Whitehorse, but for the city of Whitehorse.” Mélodie Simard is the manager of parks and community development. Simard presented the amendment to council.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. says it’s “dismayed” that the territorial government isn’t giving up on its fight to have a lawsuit over Inuit language instruction in schools thrown out of court. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), which represents Inuit in Nunavut, filed the lawsuit against the territorial government in 2021, claiming it has failed to provide education in Inuktut and discriminates against Inuit as a result. the lawsuit cited Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is about equality rights.
The Government of Nunavut says it has hired a lawyer to look into how eight children from the territory were placed in an unlicensed Alberta group home last year. The situation came to light following a report from Radio-Canada in March. It found that three homes run by Ever Bright Complex Needs Support Services in Airdrie, Alta., had permits that weren’t active. A Nunavut spokesperson said at the time that the territory was unaware of this when the children were sent, though Alberta Children’s Services said the information was communicated to Nunavut multiple times.